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Launch of Friendship 7, the first American-manned orbital space flight, February 20, 1962

Launch of Friendship 7, the first American-manned orbital space flight, February 20, 1962

On February 20, 1962, Astronaut John Glenn, enclosed in the tiny capsule he named Friendship 7, became the first American to orbit the Earth, completing three orbits before splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean. The mission was celebrated as a triumph throughout the country.

Courtesy NASA [GPN-2000-000686, 62PC-0011]